If you are from my generation, or before, you are officially old enough to remember when Saturday Night Live was actually funny. Names come to mind like Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, and Garrett Morris. There is one other character that comes to mind: Father Guido Sarducci. Comedian Don Novello played the unlikely chain-smoking priest with tinted eyeglasses, who always had a different take on things.
Father Sarducci’s most famous skit was the “Five Minute University.” As I recall, a study had come out back then and concluded that a four year degree, some five years following graduation, only results in the memory of about five minutes of information. He reasoned then, that he could just open a “Five Minute University.” It would only cost $20.00.
The Five Minute College curriculum was simple:
Spanish: “Como esta Usted. “”Muy bien.” (“How are you? “”Very good.”)
Theology: “God is everywhere.”
Business: “Buy it cheap, sell it for more.”
Spring Break: Sun lamp for 20 second and a glass of orange juice.
Economics: “Supply and demand.”
This famous skit (preserved for us all on YouTube.com) ends with the joke that he might open a Law School next door. “You got another minute?” he asks playfully.
So, carrying the torch, I will attempt to pick up where he left off:
Dave’s Five Minute Law School
Orientation: “Look at the persons to your right and left…one of you three will not be here at graduation.” (Yes, they really say that).
Contracts: “Offer + acceptance + consideration = a Contract.”
Torts: “A hurts B, B wants money. B must prove A’s breach of reasonable care was the proximate cause of B’s injuries.”
(It is desirable that A has a large insurance policy).
Civil Procedure: “‘Jurisdiction’ tells what type of court hears what case, and ‘venue’ tells which one of those courthouses to pick.”
Criminal Law: “A Latin phrase ‘mens rea’ = ‘guilty mind.’ Most crimes require the act (‘actus reus’) be done intentionally, or at least knowingly.”
Property Law: “The best way to own property is outright, and that is called a ‘Fee Simple Absolute.'”
Constitutional Law: “The Supreme Court determines what is constitutional. Most people think they are right about half the time. Most people disagree on what half.”
Commercial Paper: “Yes, even if the sectional couch falls apart, you still have to pay the ‘Holder in Due Course’ all the monthly notes because the Furniture Store sold them your finance contract when you did that great ‘No payments for 12 months deal.'”
Decedents’ Estates: (Also known as “Gifts & Stiffs.”) There is something called the ‘Rule Against Perpetuities.’ Don’t violate it! Also, for the love of all that is good and Holy, get a Will done!” (Everyone dies.)
Ethics: “Avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
Tax: “Pay your taxes.” (Hire a good CPA so you don’t screw it up.)
Environmental Law: “If your clients dump acid in a river, he gets fined, and sued in tort.”
Employment Law: “Make your clients have a good, non-discriminatory reason to fire their employees and make sure they document their file before termination.”
Business Law: “Bow when you meet your Chinese clients.”
Evidence: “Object when anything hurts you at trial, decrying it as ‘hearsay.’ Your fellow law school graduate can’t remember all 18 exceptions to that rule either.”
Family Law: “Either don’t get married, or don’t ever get divorced. Custody of children is to be determined by the so-called ‘best interest of the child.’ Of course, the best interest of the child is actually served by being raised securely with mature, loving and selfless Mommies and Daddies who do not get drunk and have affairs, but this phenomenon provides no fodder for divorce lawyers.”
Congratulations on your graduation! Now, if Father Guido Sarducci was to summarize all we can now recall from grades 1-12, I fear it may not even equate to a Five Minute University. It may be a Drive Thru University.
Hey, now there’s an idea!
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